Saturday, August 28th marks the 58th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, when thousands gathered in Washington, D.C. to call for Black Americans’ equal rights. This year the March continues. On Saturday, civil rights organizations, racial justice groups, and concerned citizens across the country will join to not only commemorate those who fought for equality before us, but carry the torch forward.
The right for every American to vote is the bedrock of our democracy. This fundamental right remains under attack, especially in the South. I am a big believer in “what governs locally, governs best,” but this is an issue where the federal government must step in and protect the democracy that makes us uniquely American.
We’ve already experienced the dire need for inclusive voting rights as COVID-19 highlighted our system’s inequities. The global pandemic continues to ravage our communities and we have much work to do, but we still have the opportunity to protect the sacred right to vote.
As my dear friend and mentor John Lewis said, “We are one people, one family, the human family, and what affects one of us affects us all.”
This week we March On for Voting Rights and encourage the renewed call for the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Rep. Lewis graciously agreed to serve on EPU’s national advisory committee and though we miss him terribly – his passion and lessons continue through our work today.
Founder & President, E Pluribus Unum
E Pluribus Unum is now accepting applications for UNUM Fellows Program
Last week, E Pluribus Unum released the application for the 2021 cohort of UNUM Fellows for state legislators from across the South. The organization’s signature leadership initiative equips Fellows with resources, training, and technical expertise to advance racial and economic equity in their communities. Applications from southern state legislators are due by September 15 and can be found at www.unumfund.org/fellows. Feel free to share with your networks.
“State legislators have the power to shape our lives and the UNUM Fellows program encourages breaking down barriers that divide us by race and class,” said EPU Founder and President Mitch Landrieu. “When leaders emphasize racial and economic equity, then we begin tearing down the old walls that were intentionally built to keep us apart. Communities work better together for a united future.”
UNUM Fellows continue EPU’s mission to increase dialogue and advance racial and economic equity in the South. Through the program, EPU will support chosen state legislators with tools to effectively advance equity in policymaking in state legislatures. Applicants must currently be serving a term through the end of 2022 in one of thirteen southern states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.
Click here to learn more and apply today!
New Video Series: Sleight of Hand
Despite massive progress over the last 60 years, we are still fighting to ensure that our Constitutional rights, like participation in our great democracy, are not obstructed. We can no longer fall for the distractions and magic tricks of the those with bad intentions, we must keep our eyes on the ball. Focus is imperative.
In #SleightOfHand, a new video series from E Pluribus Unum, “magic” demonstrates how we are missing systemic racism that is often in plain sight.
Learn more about this video series, and view the episode on voting rights here.
What We’re Reading
Associated Press – Democrats unveil plan to update landmark voting law
Vox – Democrats have finally identified the greatest threat to voting rights – the Supreme Court
Washington Post – Voting Rights: Activists plan nationwide marches in DC
New York Times – John Lewis: Together, You Can Redeem the Soul of our Nation
News Around the South
News from our 13 southern states on voting rights, critical race theory, confederate monuments, and COVID-19 vaccination rates
FOX 10 – Gov. Ivey urges Alabama football fans to get vaccinated
KATV – Health officials continue to research vaccine hesitancy, pharmacy sees uptick in 1st doses
USA Today – Florida’s COVID-19 surge ‘a crisis of unprecedented proportions,’ a doctor says; school districts battle for masks
Georgia Public Radio – As Low Vaccination Rate Fuels Surge, Georgia Hospital Workers Feel Frustration, Fatigue
WOWK TV – COVID-19 vaccine incentives offered to Kentucky State Fair goers
The Advocate – ‘Spreading like wildfire’: Rural Louisiana, with lowest vaccination rates, confronts Delta surge
Clarion Ledger – Vietnamese community is among Mississippi’s most vaccinated
Charlotte Observer – NC district forgoing masks in schools amid local COVID positivity rate jump
The State – Nearly twice as many children are getting COVID-19 now than at height of the pandemic
Tennessean – Mike Vrabel’s COVID-19 case will hopefully be proof of how well vaccines do work
KXAN – Communities of color still lag in COVID-19 vaccination rates, data shows. Why?
NBC 12 – Richmond struggles with low COVID-19 vaccination rates
WFXR TV – West Virginia college offers COVID-19 vaccines on first day of school